The Alphabet of Art


Type Contrast Resulting Attributes
Rough Maximum Emotionally Active
Esthetically dynamic
Spatially in depth
Smooth Minimum Emotionally passive
Esthetically decorative
Spatially static

Texture has been considered by painters as more of a three-dimensional characteristic than a two-dimensional one. Therefore, it was largely neglected in Western painting until Vincent Van Gogh used it successfully, making texture both a color and design quality in his paintings.

Vincent Van Gogh, Bedroom at Arles

The Medici Palace in Florence, Italy, is a fine example of texture in architecture. The first floor exterior of the three-story building is rough. The second story exterior employs the use of medium rough textures, and the top exterior story of the building is of smooth texture. In this example, rough texture suggests strength and smooth texture suggests lightness.

Rough and smooth also had psychological implications for the Egyptians. In the Great Pyramid the rough path to the rough room is considered to be Hell, while the smooth path to the smooth room is evidently Heaven.

Choose a topic to read more about the Alphabet:
Line Line Direction Shape Size
Texture Value Color Composition
The Attributes The Picture Plane

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